For welterweight Kyle Crutchmer, the key to winning his fight this past February versus Scott Futrell at Bellator 239 was to stick to what he did best and not try to play into the physical advantages his opponent had.
Considering Futrell was a half a foot taller than Crutchmer, playing the distance game wasn’t going to work, so grappling was the avenue he took to picking up a first round submission victory.
“Dude was like six-foot-five, so I wasn’t going to stand and strike, (but) go back to my roots of wrestling,” Crutchmer told MMAWeekly.com. “I had been working on a couple of different submissions. I went out and got the win (with an anaconda choke).
“It was too quick. I didn’t really get to showcase much, except that I can submit you while we’re standing. I was pleased with it, but other than that not much happened.”
Following the win over Futrell, Crutchmer might have been forced into lockdown, but he never stopped working on his game, as training is something so ingrained in him that it’s not just something he does, but is part of his life.
“As a wrestler I’ve trained 24/7/365 for the past 16 years,” said Crutchmer. “Whether it’s running, doing my wrestling drills, whatever. I’m one of those guys who is never really out of shape. I’ve been training since the pandemic started.
“I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a lot of connections. Pretty much wherever I’m at I’m able to train. I’ve been doing pretty much what I’ve always been doing since I started. I didn’t close out too much. I have great teammates and great coaches, and we always find a way to train.”
On Thursday in Uncasville, Connecticut, Crutchmer (5-0) will look to remain undefeated when he faces Camron Lochinov (9-2) in a preliminary 170-pound bout at Bellator 249.
“I just have to do what I do,” Crutchmer said. “I’ve watched a couple of (Lochinov’s) videos and he’s a tough guy, durable, but I just think I’m a way better athlete than he is everywhere.
“I train very hard. I’ll be in very good shape. It’s going to take a lot to get me out of there. I think I match up well with this guy. I don’t see where he’s really better than me anywhere. He needs to be prepared to face the best he’s ever fought before.”
For Crutchmer, though he’s once again able to fight, his focus after the fight will be on his family before thinking of what’s next for his career.
“I had a daughter in March, so I’m going to spend Halloween with her, and I will think about whatever after that,” said Crutchmer.